My name is Bassem Nowyhed and I am the CEO and founder of Invig Consulting. I have more than a decade of experience in the convenience store industry. At Invig Consulting, we reimagine the way brands, convenience stores, and restaurants connect and do business together.
Our primary goal is to help clients enter the market and gain visibility. We also bridge the gap between a brand and/or product that wants to enter the market to thrive.
What's your backstory, and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
My family went into the convenience store business before I was born, which laid a foundation and example of entrepreneurialism (especially within the c-store industry) for me. That said, I didn’t envision myself following suit originally. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player, but I never had the time to properly practice the sport. My dad would often pull me away from playing with friends and have my work at our family’s gas station instead.
Infuse soul and energy into your work and lead with integrity, but be careful not to be taken advantage of.
At first, I didn’t want anything to do with the business, but after graduating college and starting my entrepreneurial ventures, I returned to the industry organically and haven’t regretted it once since. I now realize that having such early access and visibility into business and brand development helped me cultivate a natural knack and expertise for this work, which has helped me attract the right clients today.
How can other entrepreneurs break into the c-store/retail industry?
Breaking into the c-store industry is achievable if done so efficiently. I encourage others to first study emerging technologies and systems that can simplify a store’s operations, inventory management, and distribution logistics. I’ve always suggested that any new startup company can create a new distribution channel and break from the big, traditional c-store chains like Cormark and McLean to have more autonomy and control as the business owner.
Truthfully, there hasn't been a boutique distributor that services c-stores, in the same way, merchandising does, and very few distributors merchandise or pay attention to the store itself. There are so many opportunities there - not just in distribution, but in general. If an entrepreneur or operator takes an approach that automates old systems and allows things to happen more seamlessly, the opportunities available to that entrepreneur in this field are endless.
What/how is Invig Consulting doing, and what does the future look like for the company?
At Invig Consulting, we leverage a lifetime of shared experience and industry expertise to offer several strategic services to brands and business owners looking to begin their journey into the convenience store and retail gas spaces. From thoughtful marketing and promotional campaigns to product and pricing development, we help our clients successfully break into the c-store scene armed with a comprehensive, future-forward understanding of the business that can only be derived from real-world experience. We also conduct thorough market research and analysis of each brand or product, along with any over-arching industry trends and competitors, to inform/tailor our approach and maximize results. In doing so, we’ve been able to create numerous client success stories and earn trust with brands, convenience stores, and business owners across the industry.
Invig is deeply rooted in relationship building, and that effort should never end. The past few quarters, for example, I've been out in the trenches networking, building relationships, cross-collaborating, and planting the right ideas and systems to secure longevity and sustainability for brands or businesses. I’ve been actively aligning myself with the right partners that have sustainable markets and solid business models, intending to scale alongside each other as we grow. A year (or five years) from now, I'd love to have a portfolio full of success stories where my clients’ brands went beyond the shelf and into the consumer’s lifestyle. It’s one thing to get your product onto store shelves, and sure, we can optimize your positioning within a store’s ecosystem for maximum brand exposure, but converting that single sale into a dedicated customer is what we strive to accomplish on behalf of our clients at Invig.
Since starting Invig Consulting, have you learned anything particularly helpful and/or surprising that others should know about?
Strategic organization is key, in my opinion - and to successfully create scalable structures and systems, you first need a blueprint. Without that blueprint, it’d be like buying a 1000-piece puzzle and deciding where each piece belongs without the full picture to work from. Running a successful business requires the same proactive planning, project management, and informed execution. It’s also crucial that brands and business owners truly understand (and are committed to) why they’re in the business they’re in, meeting the need they’re meeting, instead of just focusing on the what or how. That commitment and understanding are what will get them through their toughest challenges and help them develop their most innovative solutions.
What platform/tools do you use to help grow Invig Consulting?
Currently, our favorite business tool is Trello, a life-changing project management app. Since I firmly believe that nothing beats a good, old-fashioned phone call, I try to initiate all client communications via phone first, but Trello empowers us to take those conversations to the next level of real-time project management, transparency, communication, and collaboration oversight.
What future do you envision for retail and C-store industries that other entrepreneurs would benefit from?
Digital marketplace platforms, user-driven delivery apps, and “Cloud” kitchens provide a huge market opportunity for c-store brands and operators to create or scale virtual business from existing kitchens and compliant prep spaces. Essentially, you can now start your restaurant without all the overhead.
When a customer orders ice cream, snacks, or beverages from a c-store’s Cloud kitchen on DoorDash, Postmates, or the like, they likely don’t realize that their order is being fulfilled at a gas station. The product and customer experience remain the same for the end-user, but these platforms dramatically expand a c-store owner’s ability to reach more customers and increase margins.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?
A book called Actionable Gamification had a big impact on me. It explains how, if you want to create a truly sustainable presence in the modern market, you need to gamify the user/customer experience. It reveals how you can gamify the entire shopping experience from start to finish. For example, within the c-store context, a customer can rack up points and/or reward incentives every time he or she makes a purchase. This gave me the perspective to recognize and initiate the right conversation with customers so they can feel like they’re part of something bigger and beyond just the purchased product itself.
What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs who are pre-launch or just starting out?
Secure contracts. Build connections, relationships, and rapport. Align your moral and ethical compass with your outlined business practices. Infuse soul and energy into your work and lead with integrity, but be careful not to be taken advantage of. Legitimize every single business relationship by solidifying the appropriate and necessary legal logistics. Lastly, enjoy yourself. It will be the ride of your life.
Where can we go to learn more?
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